Probably the best cloisters in the world..

As you may know I do love cloisters and I have seen lots of really beautiful ones in my time. However the ones at the Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon were absolutely breath-taking in their splendour.

The decorations carved on the pillars were amazing and all unique, I couldn’t stop taking photos of the way that the sunlight and shadows made contrasts. Just amazing.

Lisbon - cloisters 1

Lisbon - cloisters 2

Lisbon - cloisters 3

Lisbon - cloisters 5

Lisbon - cloisters 4

Lisbon - cloisters 6

The monastery itself is wonderful, my camera was playing up at this point, previous pictures are from my tablet, so here are a couple from the miracles of the internet to show you what I mean.

Lisbon jeronimos_monastery_2

Lisbon jeronimos-monastery

There are other monasteries in Lisbon that we did not have time to visit so will have to go back as well, it is just there are so many other places that I want to go as well, just not enough time for all the loveliness there is in the world!

One of the last places we visited was the Belem Tower, built to defend Lisbon in the 1500s and just gorgeous, beautiful stone carvings and very ornately decorated for a defensive structure.

Lisbon - Torre 1

Lisbon - Torre 2

Lisbon - Torre 3

A really great holiday again and wonderful to spend time with my mum who like my lovely daughter is very happy wandering round churches and historic monuments, so glad to have travelling companions who like the same things that I do.

Have another re-enactment event coming up this weekend, we will be at Peveril CastlePeveril Castle, fingers crossed for fine weather as it is right on the top of the hill with a very long, steep climb up and down. Last year was brilliant weather on Saturday and raining all day Sunday so am praying for sun all weekend.

I am then off to Spain for a bit to see the family, not planning to do much due to the fact that it will be very hot, just lots of reading, going to the pool and spending time with my cousins and my god – daughter.

See you when I get back, thanks for visiting.

 

 

Tiles , sardines and another wonderful and wacky palace

Hello everyone

Mum and I really enjoyed our first trip to Portugal a couple of weeks ago, I came back with so many beautiful postcards of tiles as inspiration for quilt designs and some beautifully wrapped fish. Sardines are a big feature of Portuguese cuisine and there were tins of fish for sale everywhere.

Lisbon - sardines

I could have bought loads of these as they were in all of the gift shops and I love the vintage designs.

The city was lovely with lots of beautiful buildings, many art deco in style and the best railway station I have ever seen, the bottom two pictures in this mosaic.

The tiles on the postcards below come from the many tiled buildings that are in the city, some amazing pattern inspiration, if you want to see more look at this link.

Lisbon -tile postcards 1

I have framed this beautiful postcard and put it in my kitchen, lovely windows!

Lisbon  - tile postcards 6

The main reason for choosing Portugal for our trip was a blog post last year from Gillian Travis  , one of my favourite textile artists, who had visited Sintra, an area where the Portuguese royal family had their winter retreat and built lots of wonderful palaces. She has made some lovely journal quilts based on her trip including one with sardine tins, pictures at the bottom of this post.

Sadly my camera malfunctioned while we were away and though I thought I had taken lots of gorgeous pictures they were all corrupted so have had to resort to finding others from the internet to show you the wonderful Pena Palace  that we visited on my birthday.

Lisbon pena palace 2

I love bizarre palaces, we visited Neuschwanstein a few years ago and this is similar in its wonderful over the top architecture, this time with a Moorish influence.The whole area is so beautiful with rocky outcrops amongst the trees and views out to sea.

Lisbon pena-national-palace 1

I love this picture of it in the clouds, it looks like something from an epic film like a Lord of the Rings movie, amazing to think that this was actually built on the site of an original monastery as a family home.

Lisbon pena palace 3 clouds

We had a brilliant day exploring the palace and the beautiful grounds topped off by a ride down from the palace in a jeep which was very exciting! We had bought round trip bus tickets but the queues were really long for the return bus and there were lots of vehicles dropping people off at the palace and offering return trips. We narrowly missed getting a tuk tuk but were very happy with a cool ride down in the jeep.

We ended the day with a drinks on the terrace of a bar overlooking Lisbon and tapas at a very cute little place where we were the only customers, possibly something to do with the fact that Portugal were playing Germany in the Euro 16.Happily they won so we came back to the hotel accompanied by the cheers and honking horns of a lot of very happy Portuguese. A very memorable day!

We also visited an a great art museum and some found some absolutely amazing cloisters in the monastery, even better than Laycock Abbey so I will be posting pictures of those soon.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

The hottest day of the year ….

Or even the century. You may be aware that we had a mini heatwave this week, it reached about 33 degrees, even in Yorkshire and in typical British style we were all saying how it was too hot and we needed it to cool down – we are never happy with the weather  😉

Anyway it was a lovely day made even more special as my very lovely son Jake graduated from University with a 2:1 in Multimedia Journalism, which makes me a very proud Mum:-)

Poor boy was roasting in his black gown but we managed to get some nice photos before he had to disrobe.

Here he is with a cute bear who was posing for photos with the graduates, he must have been really hot! Also his lovely sister Ellie and his best friend from University, Charlie , who he met at sixth form and they have studied together for the last 6 years.

We had a great time in Middlesbrough including a trip to the Bowes Museum, somewhere I have always wanted to visit, and a curry at a place with naan breads as that were at least two feet in length.

The day also ended very well as I had a visit booked to Simply Solids  to hear Sarah Fielke give a trunk show talk. I had not really come across her work before but loved it, she bases a lot of her designs on antique quilts and uses a lot of applique and hand quilting all which very much appeals to me.

I have just treated myself to a copy of her latest book of designs based on antique quilts so that will be arriving next week, more ideas for the retirement crafting!

Sarah Fielke 3 - book

She was really lovely, especially so in the extreme heat, poor women had packed for her European tour a few weeks previously and had not packed for our heatwave so she did a wonderful job, we were hot enough just sitting there listening.

Sarah Fielke 1

I not only loved the quilts but found her very inspirational, she had a serious car accident when she was just starting her quilting career and her children were very young and still managed to continue with things, even after four months in hospital and time after that using a wheelchair.

Sarah Fielke 2

I hope that the quilting helped her recover as it does for so many people, I am a great believer in the power of crafting to help heal, I know it helps me when I am in pain and think it is a really good way of relieving stress as well.

Below is one of my favourite designs by her from her Quilting with Little Things book, love the little appliqued leaves.

Sarah Fielke Quilting-From-Little-Things

Well it still sunny here but not so hot so will be watching the weather carefully while I craft as have lots of washing on the line! Hope that you have a lovely weekend and thanks for visiting.

 

If Carlsberg did gardens……

Our last house on the tour was the beautiful Stourhead. I realised when we got there that I have seen so many pictures of the gardens and just had not realised that this was the house we were visiting, we chose it as it was so close to where the event was.

Stourhead 1

Stourhead 2

The house is a Palladian one and the gardens were created in the 1740s and are some of the most amazingly beautiful I have ever seen. Just look at this view.

Stourhead 5 gardens

Stourhead 6 gardens

I have been having trouble walking recently due to an infection a few months ago so was using my stick and didn’t think I would be able to make the walk around the lake. However the National Trust have manned golf carts for people with reduced mobility so I was able to go on a tour round the lake which was brilliant. There are lots of follies such as this cottage and the temple which is now a wedding venue.

The house was full of art and wonderful treasures like this bird table centrepiece from the 1600s.

Stourhead 4 - bird

And I always love the libraries with the patterned books spines.

Stourhead 3 - books

There was also a gorgeous church next to the lake, a bat was flying around inside and we watched it for ages.The church were having a flower festival to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday and it looked very lovely.There was also a beautifully decorated organ as well with art deco style flowers.

Stourhead 10 church

I was particularly interested in this effigy dating from the mid 1300s showing a nebule or goffered headdress. My very talented friend Kat has made lots of beautiful versions of this for friends in re-enactment.

Stourhead 11 headdress

We really enjoyed the day at Stourhead and it is really worth a visit if you are in the area. At the moment the interpretation tells the story of the son of the owners, Harry Hoare, who was sadly killed in the First World War, events which led to the house being given to the Trust.

Another very worthwhile use of my Trust membership and I enjoy knowing that I am helping preserve all this for future generations.

Thanks for visiting and see you soon!

On location

Hello again. The third property we visited on our little National Trust tour was Laycock Abbey. Apologies as for some reason I can’t add links at the moment or would have put one in for the information.

The whole village belongs to the Trust and it was very pretty with lots of little honesty stalls outside all of the houses selling jams etc. The Abbey itself is beautiful, mellow stone which looked so lovely on a summer day.

Laycock 2

I love all the details on the stone and spent quite a lot of time taking pictures of things as inspiration for future patterns. The quatrefoil is a design that is common on older buildings and I love the stained glass window above the main stairs that now forms part of Fox Talbot’s Great Hall with its wonderful painted ceiling.

Laycock 8

The Abbey has been used as a filming location for lots of things, most famously for the Harry Potter films. We visited the Warner Brothers’ Studio Harry Potter experience a couple of years ago as a Christmas trip and we saw the sets for things like Snape’s potion class which was filmed here in the crypt.

All very exciting and very apt as it was William Henry Fox Talbot, the owner of the house, who took the first ever photograph using a negative in 1835. I think that he would be amazed how much we now document our lives on social media and the way that we use photos, such an essential part of our lives.

That is another reason why I love visiting Trust houses, not only are you sometimes seeing things from great events like the Mary Queen of Scots chemise but also from what must have seemed at the time quite a small thing, a great personal achievement for him but I doubt he realised the significance to the world.

He was also friends with other inventors and there was another great piece of textile interpretation in the dining room. This tablecloth showed the dishes from a dinner with the plates representing the guests, amongst whom was Charles Babbage. He was the creator of the Analytical Engine who along with the daughter of Lord Byron, mathematician Ada Lovelace who worked with him on the idea of programming, gave us the beginnings of computing.

Laycock textile interpretation 1

Laycock textile interpretation 2

I find it absolutely amazing that two men at a dinner table all those years ago set in motion the technology that allows me to sit here in my lounge on my laptop blogging and uploading pictures for you. It just makes you wonder who is sitting somewhere right now with the next idea that will revolutionise things and what it will be.

Laycock cloisters 4

The cloisters were my favourite part of the place, I love the stonework and the way that the light and shadows contrast. I think they are such wonderful and spiritual places, even with lots of visitors in them you can sense how peaceful they would have been when this was an abbey.

Hope that you all have a good week ahead, I am spending the rest of the weekend working on a very special piece of embroidery that I won’t be able to reveal for a while, Ellie’s best friend from University is getting married soon and I am making a ring pillow for them!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

A little bit of history

Hello everyone, hope you are all well and happy. It is another damp and dreary weekend here in Yorkshire but that means plenty of time for catching up on blogging and crafting!

Regular readers will know I love visiting historic places, all places are special in their own way and all very beautiful but sometimes you come across something really special that is a real wow moment.

You may remember that Ellie worked at Hardwick Hall before she moved to Clumber Park, they have an extensive collection of Elizabethan textiles, some worked by Bess of Hardwick and some by Mary Queen of Scots, her husband’s charge in the years before her death.

We were wandering through our second Trust Property, Coughton Court , really enjoying the beautiful treasures when we came across a darkened room full of the most amazing things.

Firstly there was this beautiful chalice cover with the most wonderful Elizabethan goldwork, then a priest’s cope which was made by Catherine of Aragon, (another heroine of mine), and her ladies, no pictures as it was too dark but you can get a glimpse of it at the collections site here.

Coughton textiles 5

Coughton textiles 6

Then at the back in a case was this very simple chemise, embroidered around the neck, the chemise that Mary allegedly wore when she was executed at Fotheringay Castle in 1587.

Coughton - MQS robe 1

This was one of the most wow moments I have ever had at a property, one of those really goose bumpy moments when you realise you are actually really close up to the reality of history. You can see a full length picture of the chemise at the collections site at the above link.

It was also very interesting as all contemporary reports said that Mary wore blood – red undergarments, the colour of a catholic martyr, maybe this was under those red robes.

You can read more about Coughton and the family history at this great blog post  from the very informative Tudor Stuff blog. The family were staunch Catholics and so had a bit of a rough time during the reformation but managed to retain their beautiful property.

There were also some other lovely costumes in portraits. The blackwork on the neck and sleeves of this robe and this lace collar were two of my particular favourites.

There was some very good interpretation using textiles as well, this is something that Ellie and I have noticed as a growing trend in Trust houses and one that we really like. I think it is far more interesting to read something set in the context and also from a practical point of view easier as the print is larger and several people can be reading the information at once.

This was a dinner party at which the guests were all members of the estate who died in the First World War. A very touching and lovely way to remember them, with their photos as place cards and their stories on the back of each chair.

Coughton - textile interpretation 1

Coughton - textile interpretation 2

I will be back soon with more lovely Trust stuff, now off to make another little basket, have resisted the urge to make more for a few weeks but they are so cute and this will be a present for a younger relative.

Hope that you all have a lovely weekend whatever you are doing and see you soon. Thanks for visiting.

Catching up

Hello everyone

It has been a bit of whirlwind here and I have been catching up on myself, the trip to Lisbon was great as was the event this last weekend, I have now just about caught up on all the housework and washing so now time to catch up on the fun blogging stuff!

I have so many lovely things to show you and lots of pictures from all my trips but will start with a little bit of making, here is the tabard that I finished for Jamie a few weeks ago, I finally found the pictures inside another folder.

It was a fairly simple make but had a lot of hand finishing, Jamie designed it himself and it not only looks good but works in terms of protecting his nice new brigandine which you can see in this first picture.

Tatton - Jamie's new tabard

 

Tatton - Jamie's new tabard 2

Tatton - Jamie's new tabard 3

Tatton - Jamie's new tabard 4

It is made of wool and lined in linen, I didn’t do the lining all the way down to the bottom so the scallops are just raw edges.

I was doing quite a lot of photography to back up my research and took this of one of the other groups in kit outside their tent, what lovely costumes!

Tatton - King and friends

I also have a few pictures from Tewkesbury, there were a few old friends who we had not seen for a very long time.Here are Bev and Kat dressed in the 15th century Burgundian dresses walking onto the battlefield.

Bev, the one on the right in the red gown, was one of the founder members of our old group and we haven’t seen her for a while so it was good to catch up.

Kat and Bev at Tewks

They were in the Queen’s party for the first time and were very pleased to be walking onto the battlefield at the start, the Queen is in the dark blue gown on the right of the second picture next to the prince. Pictures from Facebook.

Kat and Bev at Tewks 2

And we were thrilled to meet up with two of our oldest friends from re-enactment, Carl and Denise. We haven’t seen much of them for a few years and it was great to spend time with them, here we are with Carl outside the beer tent on Sat night, Ellie looks fab in her pirate theme costume.

Carl, Ellie and me at Tewks- small

So a brilliant weekend, am now very glad of a couple of quiet weekends at home. Need to sort out lots of pictures from my holidays so will be back with more lovely stuff for you soon.

Take care and thanks for visiting.